The Dirt: August 2015

What’s going on Silver Spring? Thinking through this ongoing series, and how we manage it, I can’t help but think of how much value there is in it, both for us, as well as our audience. With the slowdown of so many blogs (Just Up The Pike, Silver Spring Singular, My Line is Red) in the area, plus the end of The Gazette, it seemed like there would be a place for noteworthy news for the area. That being said, there’s a lot of coverage of Silver Spring by Bethesda Magazine. I would be lying if I said that didn’t irritate me. If you know me, you know I loathe Bethesda. I’d rather sit on a glowing hot fireplace poker than spend time there. Don’t doubt me, I’ve done it before.

That being said, Bethesda Magazine tends to have a lot of up-to-date coverage of Silver Spring goings-on. While we want to cover Silver Spring news, we’re not a news outlet. No one on the team has journalistic experience (or journalistic integrity… or integrity) and we aren’t a big enough presence for businesses to need to reach out to us right away for their latest development. Views for The Dirt are minimal, and it tends to not get a lot of shares. Maybe someone can point out what we’re doing wrong (with just this series, save the multitude of other things we’re doing wrong for another post)?

Besides that, you may see more of my own thoughts in future posts. This was originally designed to be a blog, and I’m realizing that it behooves me to include more bloggy-aspects, eg ramblings, personal thoughts, inane chatter, etc. Expect more… for better or for worse. Without further ado:

Arepa Restaurant (8555-B Fenton Street) – Fajita Sub Factory (the Airstream at Colesville and Georgia Avenue) is about to get some competition. An arepa restaurant is about to fill the space on Fenton Street that used to be Quizno’s. I love me an Arepa, so this is welcome news. Plus, I won’t miss Quizno’s. That spot was trifling.

BeClaws (2404 Universty Blvd.) – Word on the street is that a cajun restaurant is coming to Wheaton. Those from the deep South (I’m looking at you, Thayer Ave) will probably rejoice. Expect overt drunkenness and probably an unreasonable amount of flesh shown. From the looks of their menu, they’ve got a pretty awesome beer list.

The Octave (1320 Fenwick Lane) – Development is coming along on The Octave on Fenwick Street. It’s a nice change to have some condominiums opening up in what has been an apartment market for the last decade. Imagine the damage you could do living across the street from Fenwick Beer & Wine. Plus they count us as a “helpful neighborhood link”. Woot! No one considers us helpful, but we’ll take it! Thanks, Octave!

The Pearl – The Blairs has dug a huge hole to build their latest development, The Pearl. At 14 stories, it will have some height to replace what used to be their low rises. I can’t help but think of season 3 of The Wire. Expect completion by December 2016.

Kaldi’s – Kaldi’s has broken through their wall to expand their location. The expansion will more than double the space, and offer a rooftop, which Silver Spring could use more of. Expect Kaldi’s to slightly modify their branding to “Kaldi’s Social House” and expand their offering to include more food items and booze. No one wants me to have yet another place to get booze, but otherwise, it’s a joyous occasion.

First Baptist Church (8415 Fenton St) – Just across the street from our new library is the monster-truckesque demolition of the First Baptist Church. While it’s a beautiful building and part of me is uncomfortable with the plans for what will replace it, it’s pretty awesome watching machines destroy a building. It’s like a toned down Michael Bay movie, but with better plot and story development, plus no Shia Labeouf.

Catylator (8121 Georgia Avenue Suite LL1) – Catylator Makerspace has moved into the basement of the World Building and are building it out. They’ll be a welcome neighbor to us being that we work just several floors up at Creative Colony, with an expected opening on September 19. Join them for their Painting Party, and help bring a MakerSpace to Silver Spring!

Nazret Market (8120 Georgia Ave) – The old Universal Martial Arts Center has been leased and Silver Spring is that much more vulnerable for it. A new Ethiopian market is moving in, but with no indications as to when. While the sign has been up for a while, no work seems to be going on in the interior.

Pete Tan
A DC Native, people say I'm rude and abrasive; I say I'm passionate. I've been working in marketing since 2005. My brothers and I paid Geppi's rent through the 80s and 90s. My relief at an indoor wavepool never materializing in Silver Spring is balanced by my disappointment that City Place has dozens of shuttered storefronts. I love what you've done with your hair.

11 COMMENTS
  • Andy Feliciotti
    Reply

    Can’t wait for Kaldi’s expansion!

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Heck, yeah, Andy. Between the expanded menu and the rooftop, it’s going to be a great addition to Silver Spring. I just wonder if they’ll be able to make the same awesome latte art in my beer foam.

  • Jerry A. McCoy
    Reply

    Hi Pete,

    I grimaced when I read, “…it’s pretty awesome watching machines destroy a building.” The Silver Spring Historical Society worked very deligently to save this superb example of Mid-Century religious architecture by local architect Ronald S. Senseman.

    Best,

    Jerry

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Alas, Jerry, my inner 5-year old will not be denied.

      Now what’s the most threatened building that SSHS is working to protect?

  • Jerry A. McCoy
    Reply

    For those who are interested in learning more about the history of the recently demolished First Baptist Church of Silver Spring, please see the Silver Spring Historical Society’s Maryland Historical Trust / Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties form at http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/2011/documents/20110623_SS_Attach3.pdf .

  • Jerry A. McCoy
    Reply

    The next “most threatened building” in downtown Silver Spring, that the Silver Spring Historical Society has worked on trying to save for the past three years, is the 1925 Silver Spring National Bank (oldest surviving bank in Silver Spring at the corner of Georgia and Bonifant) that will be bulldozed along with the rest of that block before the year is out.

    You loathe Bethesda? After the developers are through knocking down what remains of the old Silver Spring, you’ll be writing about community that looks just like it.

  • Woodsider
    Reply

    Rite-Aid is building a new store in the Zalco building at the corner of Georgia and Cameron, adding some much needed retail to this underserved part of DTSS. Not sure if this is intended to be a second store or to replace the one at E-W Hwy near Colesville Rd. which is proposed to be demolished as part of a the redevelopment plan for that corner (21 story residential tower + retail)

    <a href="http://dc.urbanturf.com/pipeline/467/Metro_Plaza/&quot;.

  • Bob
    Reply

    I just hope they don’t bulldoze that bank/Bethel block too far in advance of the actual new building going up. The 900 block of Thayer Ave. has looked like crap for almost a decade now thanks to the developer bulldozing the parcels and then just not bothering to, you know, actually build their new Studio Plaza building.

    It drives me nuts that the county does nothing to penalize/tax those lots/buildings where developers just sit on them and do nothing. DC has a higher tax rate for properties deemed “vacant” and “blighted” – sure wish MoCo would do the same to force slummy owners to get off their butts or sell.

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Great point, Bob. That block does look terrible, and makes walking Fenton pretty awful. That sounds like a pretty good policy for a county to adopt. What are the possible downsides to that?

  • Bethany
    Reply

    Possibly stupid question — what are arepas? Google makes them look like tasty cheese-filled corn pupusas. Is that right?

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Not a stupid question, but YES, arepas are like savory corn muffins. You stuff them with all types of goodness. They will rock your world. If you need a primer, try the gulf stream at the gas station at Colesville and Georgia. They have a few vegetarian varieties stuffed with beans and such.

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